an eiland distance education course

Course Description, Goals, Requirements

copyright st. elfonzo 1998
copyright st. elfonzo 1998

Catalog Course Description
Honors Film as Literature (ENGL 291H) is a three-unit Honors course using various works and critical theories as a basis for the analysis of film and cinema in the context of literary merit. The emphasis is upon the analysis of issues, problems, and situations represented in films and on the development of effective written arguments in support of the analysis, CSU; UC · Prerequisites: ENGL 101 and ENGL 103 (strongly recommended) and acceptance into Honors program (see honors requirements)

This is a full-credit university-level English composition and analysis course. Grammar was to be learned in previous courses, and will be dealt with harshly in this class. Furthermore, if English is not your primary language, you are likely to have difficulty with some of the concepts discussed in the course. It is your responsibility to grasp this material. You should have successfully completed ENGL 101. ENGL 291 is a literature analysis course. The writing and reading assignments in this course are designed to help you understand the ways that writers of film get their ideas across through their work. This requires a willingness and ability to draw logical, fair conclusions from the author's work before one can refute the assumptions and messages being presented. Inability to do so will seriously affect your grade. We will also look historical and societal context of works written by and for cinema. My job is to give you the tools to create pieces of writing that reflect your thoughts, attitudes and what you have researched in a collegiate, scholarly manner. Your job, if you accept it, will be to utilize those tools to analyze, criticize, reason both inductively and deductively, and advocate ideas. We are not only concerned with What the main point is, but also the author's rationale, method, and support. If the author tells a story, it is not enough to know merely what happened. We want to discuss what it means.

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Course Goals and Methods

This course will consist of reading, analyzing, discussing, and, ultimately, writing about the material assigned for the class.


  • Analyze texts in different cinematic genres as they represent various social, historical, aesthetic, and linguistic cultures according to their structure, organization, and purpose in order to appreciate connections between literature and cultural expression
  • Read and analyze cinematic works of non-fiction, fiction, and drama, and form an interpretive position on their cultural expressions in order to demonstrate college-level understanding of literary expressions
  • Demonstrate in writing an understanding of the importance of assigned works as expressions of various time periods, cultures and literary traditions in order to express how literature reflects and influences these aspects
  • Analyze literary texts for their implicit and explicit themes derived from cultural patterns in order to critically examine expansion of the literary canon to include voices throughout history from women, ethnic and cultural minorities.
  • Assessment: Accomplishment of these outcomes is demonstrated in class discussions, presentations, quizzes, essay exams, and analytical essays and research projects that utilize standard methods of essay development and proper English syntax and mechanics.

The fundamentals of the writing process will be stressed, but individual styles and tastes will not be discouraged. That means you will be responsible for understanding how a filmmaker gets his or her message across and how one analyzes film as literature. You will be required to substantiate your analysis clearly from text, but there is not necessarily one correct answer. The method by which you discuss these works will be the most important aspect of your grade. You will, of course, do a lot of writing in this class, including several timed essays, some out-of-class papers, and a final research paper. The most important goal for you as a student in this class is to become familiar with writing at a competent level. Keeping up with the work is imperative.

My job is to give you the tools to create pieces of writing that reflect your thoughts, your attitudes and your research. We will watch a series of works and read a short fiction piece, as well as discuss various analytical approaches. We will use the MLA format for all papers, including the quoting of sources. Out-of-class essays are expected to be typed, double-spaced, as neat as possible and on time.

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Required Texts

  • King, Stephen. Misery, 11th ed.
  • Dobie, Ann B. Theory into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism, 3rd ed. Boston: Thomson Heinle, 2012. Print.
  • College level dictionary.

Required Materials

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© T. T. Eiland, December 2005
Last modified: Aug 5, 2014